California Focus: Debra Bowen for Congress (CA-36)
I have supported Debra Bowen in each of her runs for Secretary of State and think she has done an excellent job in that job. I think what finally decided me to endorse her was when Debra Bowen got the endorsements of the California League of Conservation Voters, Equality California PAC, and Democracy for America.
Here is her statement to Democracy for America:
I’m currently serving my second term as California’s 30th Secretary of State, where my main job is to ensure California’s elections are secure, accurate, reliable and accessible, all while increasing the number of people who participate in our democracy. My first action after being sworn in was to order a top-to-bottom review of our state’s voting systems, which revealed some serious flaws in every election system examined. I required systems to meet a higher, much tougher standard for security, accuracy, reliability, and accessibility, and severely restricted the use of those machines – such as most direct recording electronic (DRE) systems – that could not meet those standards.
Before that, I served six years in the State Assembly (1992-1998) and eight years in the State Senate (1998-2006), where I represented over 90% of the 36th Congressional District. I authored the first-in-the-world law that put legislative information online in 1993, giving Californians and everyone around the world immediate access to information about state lawmakers’ bills, voting records, and more. In 1995, I became the first California legislator to voluntarily put my campaign finance reports online.
I’m also proud of my record creating green jobs, protecting the environment, working with local teachers and principals to improve our schools, cutting red tape for small businesses, and protecting consumers’ privacy and protecting them from identity theft.
I was born in Rockford, Illinois, and graduated from Michigan State University. My husband, Mark Nechodom, is a Senior Adviser for Environmental Markets at the US Department of Agriculture.
I’m running because I have a passion for public service and making our government work better for the people. When I talk to people in the 36th district – and throughout California and the country, for that matter – they make it clear that Congress’ first priority must be getting our economy back on track.
I’m concerned about the tenor of the debate on a number of national issues that seems to be more focused on scoring political points and less focused on working to solve problems.
I’m concerned that the environment, working families, students, those in need of help, and others without a voice in the national debate will be ignored by an unresponsive Congress. My record proves that I am a problem solver who gets things done even under difficult circumstances.
If I am elected, I will do everything I can to get our economy moving again – in particular by pushing for clean energy jobs and making education a national priority, which must be done in order for us to remain globally competitive in the years to come.
What are the top three issues facing your constituents today? How do you plan to address them?
Improving the job market and the economy; reinvesting in our schools and universities; restoring sensible budget policies, including shifting resources away from wars in Afghanistan and Iraq to ensure we protect the integrity of Social Security, Medicare, health care – and invest in people here at home through education and job training.
As I mentioned before, it’s clear talking to voters that priority #1 is creating jobs – in the short term as well as investing in the future so that, in the long-run, we will remain globally competitive in the coming years. Part of the solution is investing in training for the jobs of the future, such as cleaner energy and green building. Another part is reinvesting in our education system, and making it a national priority. Did you know that the Federal government only contributes 10.2% of K-12 education spending in the U.S.?
Yet another part is a thorough review of federal tax incentives and loopholes that are mainly handed to corporations. We need to determine whether in fact these policies create jobs and truly benefit the national economy, or only benefit the bottom line of a particular corporation. The reality is that most job growth is and will continue to be in the small business sector, and we need to re-orient our policies accordingly.
With the campaign just under way, I’ve already set the tone that this – like my prior campaigns for Assembly, Senate, and Secretary of State – is going to be a people-powered campaign.
One example of this is the campaign’s recent success on ActBlue. The campaign raised over $20,000 in grassroots donations in the week after I announced I was running for congress, putting it among ActBlue’s top five “hottest candidates and committees” and “hot pages.” This campaign won’t be funded by a few powerful corporate donors, but rather by grassroots activists and ordinary people like you and me -- people who genuinely care about the future of the 36th Congressional District, California, and our country.
A second example is the campaign’s emphasis on a field campaign. My first order of business was to hire both an experienced grass roots campaign manager (A Former DFA trainer in Daniel Chavez) and a fantastic field director, Lenny Young. And with the resources of DFA activists by our side, I know we can run an incredible field campaign that reaches out directly to voters and ensures they understand the stakes of this election. This is very likely to be a low-turnout special election – which means what this campaign does will have a bigger impact on the composition of the electorate.
This campaign will be a bottom-up campaign. All of my campaigns for public office have been progressive, pragmatic, and focused on real solutions to real problems facing people. This campaign will be no different. I won’t just be looking for big-name endorsements – I’ll be working to find out how I can materially improve the lives of the people of the 36th Congressional District. The path to victory relies on netroots and grassroots activists reaching out to voters, educating them about the stakes of this election, and making sure they go out and vote their values.
As Secretary of State, one of my top priorities has been to engage young people in the political process. I plan to reflect this value in this campaign: The field program will focus on inspiring new leaders to organize in their neighborhoods and online. This will be a campaign organized and funded by people who care, not corporate interests, because after all, it’s “people” that public service is, or at least should be, all about.
For more information on Debra Bowen, to volunteer or to donate, please go here. And don't forget to vote May 17. This will be a low turnout election and every vote will count.
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